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Mitch Perry Report for 7.8.15 — Could Francisco Sanchez become the Willie Horton of 2016?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The furor over Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants shows no sign of diminishing as ESPN decided to pull its charity golf tournament from his Southern California course yesterday.

It’s been a very rough week for the celebrity/businessman/GOP presidential candidate, with major corporations like Macy’s, NBC and Univision cutting ties with him in the wake of his disparaging comments last month, when he said, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” adding, “and some, I assume, are good people.'”

But Trump is doubling down on those comments and using the tragic shooting death of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle last week by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant who had a string of felonies and deportations but was freed in April despite a detainer from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials by the city’s sheriff.

Much is being made of San Francisco’s ’s sanctuary city policy from 2013, which prohibits the release of undocumented immigrants to ICE unless they have committed violent felonies. According to reports, though Lopez-Sanchez had been deported several times, none of his felonies were violent ones, and thus remained in line with San Francisco policy.

The issue has caught fire on conservative talk radio and other jurisdictions that have said for years that we shouldn’t move on immigration policy until our border with Mexico is strengthened. Immigration reform was already an issue going into this campaign, and Trump’s incendiary comments have blown it up.

But Lopez-Sanchez has put it into a whole new category, and the anger may be bipartisan. In an interview on CNN yesterday, Hillary Clinton said, “I think the city made a mistake” by not handing Lopez-Sanchez over to ICE, and said he should have been deported.

Bill O’Reilly on Monday night blasted San Francisco’s status as a sanctuary city and the federal government’s unwillingness to confront it for being so means that “the mayor and city supervisors of San Francisco are directly responsible for the murder of Kate Steinle, and the Obama administration is complicit.”

It will be interesting to see if this story dies out in another week, or goes deeper. With Trump’s ascension, I suspect it will be around for some time to come as an issue.

In other news..

Marco Rubio gave a much-hyped domestic speech in Chicago yesterday. Although he blasted Hillary Clinton as being the purveyor of “yesterday,” Democrats countered that the speech was pure “retro Rubio.”

Twelve days ago, Bob Buckhorn went on a public affairs show in Tallahassee to talk about — well, what do you think might have come up?

More establishment organizations are coming out and filing legal briefs with the Florida Supreme Court against the Solar Power proposed constitutional amendment. But the League of Cities brief may be challenged by some of its members.

And Alan Grayson was hit with a second ethics complaint in two days yesterday in Washington. Another fellow Florida Democrat called his actions “an embarrassment,” but the firebrand liberal’s supporters say nothing has happened to dissuade them from supporting him if and when he enters the Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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